The Standard Warm-Up is a dynamic stretching and flexibility routine that is done before you run. This series of light strength exercises and mobility drills help prepare your body to work harder.
What I love about this routine is that it takes about 8 minutes once you learn the order of exercises. You can do it in your living room and it’s a great way to reduce injury risk, help you feel better during your workout, and wake your body up before morning runs.
It works by increasing your core body temperature, opening capillaries, lubricating joints, and loosening your muscles. These are all the things that a warm-up should do. Static stretching is a thing of the past (except after runs, where it doesn’t hurt) and is essentially useless before you run. But warming up your body is still important so we focus on dynamic stretching instead.
If you typically run after sitting down at an office job, it’s crucial that you prepare yourself for a workout or even an easy run. A full 8-9 hours of sitting wreaks havoc on your body, typically resulting in poor posture, stiff muscles, and tight hamstrings. The Standard Warm-Up can counteract some of the ill effects of sitting for prolonged periods.
You don’t need any equipment to perform this routine and it can be modified for use in a cramped hotel room, parking lot, or wherever you are before you go running.
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The Standard Warm-Up for Dynamic Stretching
Below, you’ll find a video demonstration of all of the dynamic stretches and strength exercises included in the Standard Warm-up Routine:
Walking Deadlifts (Drinking Bird) – 10 reps
Take a step forward with your left leg, bend down while keeping your left leg fairly straight and touch your left toes with both hands. Keep your left leg slightly bent and your right leg parallel to the floor. Your right leg and your torso will be parallel to the floor. Repeat on your other leg.
Knee Hugs – 10 reps
Bring your knee up to your chest and pull up on that leg. You should feel this in your hamstrings. You can come up on your toes with the standing leg to activate the claves as well. Alternate legs.
Groiners – 20 reps
Sit on the ground with your knees bent and your feet about 1-2 feet in front of you and slightly to the side. Rotate your legs to the right so both of your knees touch the ground. In a smooth movement, return to the starting position and immediately transition to your left side.
Donkey Kicks – 10 reps
In a table position with your hands under your shoulders and knees under your hips, kick your foot back like you’re trying to push the ceiling higher. Swing your leg back underneath your body without letting your knee touch the ground and repeat.
Mountain Climbers – 20 reps with legs in, 20 reps with legs out
Get into the plank position and pull your right leg in to your chest. Alternate legs and complete the reps. Repeat with brining the knees to the outside of your arms. This should be a quick movement and will get your heart rate up.
Iron Cross – 10 reps
Lie on your back with your arms out to your sides and swing your right leg across your torso and up to your left hand. Make sure to keep your shoulders flat against the ground, but you can rotate your torso and hips as you swing your leg toward your hand. Repeat the same movement for the left leg.
Lunge Matrix – 2-10 reps per lunge type
Forward Lunge: Take a step forward with your right leg so your knee is positioned over your ankle. Lunge down so your left knee kisses the ground. Step back and repeat with the opposite leg. Always maintain a neutral spine and remain as stable as possible.
Twisting Lunge: Perform a forward lunge but with a twist at the waist. Rotate your torso to the same side that you lunge on (if you lunge on your right leg, twist to the right as well).
Side Lunge: Step to your right side, keeping both feet pointing in front of you. Lunge down so your right thigh is about parallel to the ground and your left leg is straight.
Diagonal Lunge: Step behind you about 45 degrees with your right leg. Lunge down so your right thigh is about parallel to the ground and your left leg is straight.
Backwards Lunge: Take a step backwards with your left leg and lunge down so right thigh is about parallel to the ground and your left knee kisses the ground. Keep your feet pointing straight in front of you.
Leg Swings – 10 reps
Stand next to a wall or pole for support, swing your leg parallel to the support so your foot comes to about hip level. Make sure to keep your body tall during front leg swings.
Lateral Leg Swings – 10 reps
Standing in front of a wall or pole for support, swing your leg parallel to the support so your foot comes up to about hip level. Make sure to keep your swing leg straight but don’t lock your knee.
You can also sign up for a visual here.
Dynamic Stretching Tips for this Routine
The Standard warm-up is a fairly simple series of dynamic stretching exercises for runners. Beginners will have no problem with this routine!
But keep in mind these tips when performing this warm-up sequence:
- Don’t round your back while doing walking dead lifts. Unfortunately, my form isn’t great in the video.
- Do the routine barefoot for extra foot strength.
- If any exercise is too difficult, you know you have something to work on. However, if it hurts then don’t do it.
- Once you’re familiar with the exercises, you can do this every day before you run. I recommend you learn other types of warm-ups for variation though.
- You can do this routine as a warm-down after you run to help you loosen up; it’s not strictly limited to before running.
If you always forget these dynamic stretching exercises, get the illustrated guide to the entire routine (free).